Richard Herring Press

RICHARD HERRING - TALKING COCK by Paul Majendie - The Independent

Edinburgh - After the worldwide success of the Vagina Monologues, British comedian Richard Herring felt it was high time to celebrate the joy of his manhood.

Herring had no idea how anxious man was about his prized possession until he launched a questionnaire on the Internet which solicited 3 000 heartfelt responses from around the world on the taboos of sex.

The answers provided a rich mine of information and quirky statistics for Talking Cock, his sell-out one-man show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which takes an offbeat look at man's innermost performance anxieties.
Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues was launched off Broadway in New York in 1996. Since then, it has become a global phenomenon performed in several countries with a trio of actresses recounting a collection of women's experiences and thoughts about their genitalia.

Last year, Herring performed one of his comedy shows in London alongside the Vagina Monologues and that got him thinking about how to tell man's side of the story. He decided to do it with humour - mixing ribaldry with poignant true-life confessions of insecurity.

Bouncing off stage still on a high after his show was given a riotous reception, Herring said: "It feels like women enjoy it just as much as men. It is for everyone.

"You don't come out of the Vagina Monologues as a man thinking 'I have learnt something.' You come out thinking 'Oh God they all hate us.' It talks all about the downside."

As a stand-up comedian presented with a raft of new real-life material, he is the first to admit: "There is a danger of turning into a self-help guru but I think it is much better done with humour. And I wanted to make people think."

"I had over 3 000 responses to the questionnaire. There were lots from America, lots from Australia, quite a lot from Scandinavia, some from Africa," he said. Men and women were equally forthright in their replies.

Thirty-five percent of men admitted to faking an orgasm and a comforting 96 percent of women felt the penis was their friend. Seventeen percent of women envied it, albeit for reasons for that soon deflated men's egos: "With one of them you don't have to queue for the toilet," said one woman.

One in four woman admitted to laughing at the size of their partner's member. As a counterpoint, Herring read out the revelations of a man who felt suicidal about what he viewed as his inadequacy.

Herring is eager to hone the constantly changing show and take it round the globe. He would like to inject more serious topics too. "It would be interesting to talk to people with Aids or try to talk to someone who had been castrated," he said.

But the humour will always shine through as he proved at the end of the Edinburgh show, getting the shy and tight-lipped British to shed their inhibitions and chant: "Allow our penises to be praised" while he reassured the men in the audience - "it is not a battering ram but a drawbridge that brings us together".

Source - Independent Online